Tuesday Tune Two-fer: I’ll Be Woke for Christmas

If you don’t agree with me about these songs celebrating a season of peace and unity, you’re wrong and dumb. Merry Christmas!

This week’s theme is my favorite Christmas songs, which inadvertently turned into an additional theme of “needlessly controversial Christmas songs.” First is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which over the past decade in particular has turned into a perfect litmus test for judging whether someone knows what they’re talking about.

Short1-ish version: this song isn’t creepy; the worst you could say is that it’s “mad horny.” The “I’ve got to go home” part is mock-protesting to keep up appearances. Anyone saying that it’s got a tone of sexual assault is either being deliberately manipulative, or is just demonstrating they’ve got a simplistic and condescending notion of gender.

And yeah, it’s a hill I’m going to die on. If it were just a bunch of people misinterpreting the context of a song and spinning it into a simplistic message about the importance of consent, I’d just shrug and carry on. After all, the re-interpretations and re-makes come out every year but quickly disappear2Most hilarious are the versions that claim to be progressive by gender-swapping the parts, seemingly unaware that the song’s first appearance in a film does exactly that, back in 1949, while the originals live on. But it’s not harmless to call it “problematic” or worse, “rapey.” It perpetuates an idea that women are fragile and/or frigid, that people in the 50s were more uptight and less self-aware than we are today, and is generally prudish and sex-negative . Not to mention, it also says that people always mean exactly what they say and that context is irrelevant, which is gradually making the population more and more stupid.

For the record, my favorite version of the song is actually the scene from the movie Elf. (Better than the one with Leon Redbone on the album, even). Partly because I love Zooey Deschanel’s voice, but also because it’s a modern interpretation that plays around with the idea of romance and innocence/prudishness inherent in the song. Also, it makes the song unequivocally a Christmas song.

Another perennial favorite: “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. Funnily enough, I was originally just going to include it with the note that it’s the most stirring Christmas song that contains the words “slut” and “faggot.” But I’m only just now discovering that the “official” version on The Pogues’ YouTube channel edits out “the f-word.”3I can’t actually tell what they changed it to; it sounds something like “haggis?”

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this one. On the one hand, I hate the word, I went back and forth on whether I would keep saying “the f-word” or type it out, and its use in the song has always made me uncomfortable. On the other hand, it’s supposed to make me uncomfortable. The Pogues were a punk band. The contrast between the song’s couple absolutely hating each other and falling for the magic of Christmas in New York, hate and love, hope and hopelessness, is the entire point of the song.

Whenever you see someone complaining about “political correctness” or mocking the “woke,” or whining about censorship online, 99.9999% of the time, it’s just someone going out their way to defend being arrogant, selfish, and thoughtless. It’s the equivalent of being churlish and insisting on either “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” as if that were a real thing to be upset about, instead of brazenly manipulated outrage. If you can make a minimum amount of harmless effort and make other people feel better, you’re an asshole for stamping your feet and refusing to do it.

Except again, this is a weird take. This version suggests that “cheap lousy faggot” is inexcusable, but somehow “old slut on junk” is acceptable. That suggests that individual words are somehow more powerful than the context and intent behind them. It’s also odd because it’s being changed after MacColl’s death, and I get the sense that she’d be better able to justify it than anyone speaking on the song’s behalf, even Shane MacGowan. Apparently there’s a long history of edits to the song, with attempts that seem more equitable in cutting out all the potentially offensive words, but as a result making it completely toothless.

My ultimate takeaway is that it all makes it easier to understand why Christmas songs are typically more about gifts and carols and snow, and less about adult couples being angry and horny.

My other favorite Christmas songs4A post that was supposed to have only two Christmas songs has magically stretched to include four songs! It’s a Hanukkah miracle! are “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses (although even at my most stressed, I never agree with the “miss this one this year” sentiment) and “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey (yeah, I said it. If you don’t like it, you’re wrong). Merry Christmas, everybody!

The Mandalorian: The Book of Din Djarin

The Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, “The Rescue,” once again reminds me of how I felt watching the original movies

Since it was such an annoyance with this episode in particular: spoiler warning for the season two finale of The Mandalorian.

I can’t accurately describe to anyone what it felt like seeing The Empire Strikes Back for the first time back in 1980. For me, it involved my parents driving us to the only mall theater in the state that was showing the movie on its premier night, then waiting in line for two hours. That was back when two hours felt like an eternity. Everyone in the theater was just losing their minds cheering and gasping and booing at every moment from the opening crawl, in response to every character appearance and dramatic reveal. By the end of the movie, I could already tell as a nine-year-old that it had been a transformative experience.

But the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian was kind of almost similar to that. Partly in the hype building up to it, partly in the feeling that everybody in the country was experiencing a Huge Cultural Event at the same time, but mostly in that feeling of simultaneous satisfaction and uncertainty. It was an excellent conclusion to the season, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next.

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Semi-New Song Sunday: Kasabian

My awareness of the rock band Kasabian has been brief but meaningful.

Definitely not new, but new to me, is UK band Kasabian. I’d never heard of them until seeing the video for their song “Vlad the Impaler” starring Noel Fielding.

Looking around online, it seems weird that I haven’t heard of them, since they seem like the’d be big enough that even someone as out of it as I am would’ve caught on by now. It’s solid, interesting, and pretty varied rock and roll. They’ve got a pretty big following in the UK, and they’ve had songs on FIFA video games. Which tracks, because it sounds very much like the music EA Sports finds interesting.

Just hearing about them now feels a little unsettling, as if I’d just stumbled into some kind of alternate universe where Oasis never existed. I’m curious how popular Kasabian is in the US.

Anyway, it sounds like I shouldn’t get too attached, because the lead singer was fired from the band this summer, after being convicted of domestic assault. My roughly-30-minute journey with this band has had some highs and lows, though, and at least we’ll always have “eez-eh”.

Spoiler Warning: Human Beings Continue to Disappoint

When I first heard that Disney+ was going to release its original series as real series, meaning waiting a week between episodes instead of dumping an entire season online at once, I was very happy to hear it. The Netflix model makes sense for what they’re trying to do — be a repository for hours and hours and hours of programming available whenever you want it — but it turns out that even in the over-stimulated 21st century, there’s a lot to be said for that week of speculation and anticipation between episodes. It feels more like a shared communal experience.

Or at least, it would feel like that, if there weren’t so many selfish a-holes out there.

As much as I’ve been loving The Mandalorian, I’m not watching new episodes at midnight the night before a new episode is released. But I’ve seen people not even waiting an hour to start posting spoilers online.

Now granted, I didn’t see many direct spoilers, probably because I’ve managed to weed out the worst offenders from my social media by now. But there were enough people proud of themselves for talking around the spoilers that by the time I watched the episode at a reasonable time tonight, I already had a rough idea of what was going to happen.1The biggest spoiler was a coy, roundabout tweet from one of the guest stars of the episode, which more or less revealed that they were going to be a guest star of the episode. It reminded me of The Crying Game, when I’d seen so many people so deliberately talking around the spoiler that I could tell what the spoiler was within a few minutes.

Most surprising to me, though, was how many people I saw on Twitter defending their right to post whatever they want. “If you don’t want to be spoiled, you shouldn’t be on Twitter!” was the claim. One particularly asinine person started mocking somebody who was complaining about spoilers, then said that if you’re reading Twitter in the morning you’re clearly not working, so you could just as well be watching the episode. Because taking two minutes to scroll through Twitter at work is exactly the same as taking 45 minutes to watch television during work, I guess.

I started to break my read-only policy to call the guy out for not only being stupid, but also being such a jack-ass that he’d go out of his way to defend carelessly and selfishly ruining the experience for other people, instead of showing the barest minimum amount of consideration by demonstrating the barest minimum amount of impulse control for a couple of hours until everyone got a chance to watch it. But then I realized three things.

One is that the people I was about to yell at were people I didn’t know, and one of them is apparently a contributor to a notoriously asinine Disney “news” site, so I had no idea why I’d been following them in the first place.

Two was that once someone’s selfishness has gotten to that point, calling them out on it isn’t going to have any effect at all. If there’s ever any question, the best course of action is always to block them and move on.

And lastly, no matter how selfish their intention, their advice was “you shouldn’t be on Twitter.” Which is impossible to argue with.

Apart from just bitching about a social media platform I should never have signed back onto, this also has me wondering about building anticipation and buzz and community when distribution gets wider and audiences get more and more fractured. The Mandalorian in particular has been, since its first episode, full of revelations that it’s tried to keep under wraps. Surprisingly, it’s succeeded more often than not. Obviously, people are super-eager to talk about it, or there wouldn’t be so many people eager to spoil it, so they’ve built (and earned) a dedicated audience. I’d be interested to see if there are ways to preserve that communal experience of the old broadcast TV days, that don’t just depend on people not being jerks.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Stupid Pet Tricks

How people raised on 80s TV can’t reliably distinguish between real and fake, and why it’s even worse now.

While I was trying to figure out how Dolly Parton manages to achieve near-sainthood in such a cold and nasty world, I kept spinning off on tangents thinking about how much we’ve gone astray from putting value in — or even recognizing — sincerity and authenticity.

My take on Dolly Parton’s magic is that she doesn’t make a distinction between the “real” Dolly and the one that’s on-stage. For a lot of people, being “on” all the time means that they’re always insincere, but Dolly uses it as permission to always be sincere.1The saying goes: “Working from home doesn’t mean you’re always at home, it means you’re always at work.” But at least in my own experience, it also means that you’re always at home, which is nice both for unexpected napping and for knowing what to expect every day.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more it annoys me that my generation is the one that took all the earnest sincerity of the 1970s, said “Nah, that shit’s too fake and corny,” and sent American culture into a decades-long death spiral of self-satisfied, sarcastic, self-awareness. Post-modernism obviously wasn’t invented in the 1980s, but the 80s and 90s are what took it mainstream and then ran it into the ground.

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Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: Now That’s What I Call Music

Two tangentially related tunes each Tuesday. This week’s theme: two bands I maybe haven’t given enough credit to.

Last Sunday I was kind of a jerk to HAIM, you guys. I pretty much dismissed them as “just fine” while posting a link to their performance of “3AM”. Turns out, the joke’s on me, since I’ve had that song going through my head non-stop ever since, and I’ve watched the video over and over. Even more than I’ve watched the video of the super-ripped guy dancing like a maniac with his shirt off, which should tell you something.

HAIM’s remote-directed-and-choreographed video for “I Know Alone” is pretty good too. When I first heard about them, I read that they sounded like Fleetwood Mac, which is something I didn’t hear myself — although I guess any woman singing calmly enough can sound like Christine McVie, maybe? — but figured was the kind of thing that people who knew more about music than me said. Eventually, I realized that was pretty dumb, though: Fleetwood Mac is all over the place, and “Don’t Stop” sounds nothing like “Tusk” or “Gypsy.” Well, this song sounds nothing like the other HAIM songs I’ve heard, so maybe that’s where the comparison comes in.

Anyway, they seem cool. And I think I’ve been doing them a disservice for just dismissing them as “just straightforward 21st century pop-rock music” because I always need some bizarre hook to keep my attention.

A hook like “Wait, is that Busy Phillips?” That’s what made me watch the video for Grizzly Bear’s “Losing All Sense,” which seems to be hinting at a lot about gender, authenticity, sincerity, envy, and social climbing. Grizzly Bear is another band that I’ve tried to get into several times over the years, and gone away thinking, “Yes, that sure is a band that makes music.” It’s possible that I’m just not a fan of the vocalist, and it’s never going to work for me. But I’ve got to acknowledge that even if it’s not speaking to me, it’s doing an awful lot. Like playing bare butts as drums and shooting laser beam out of nipples. Now that’s what I call a video!

Semi-New Song Sunday: Haim on Rhye feat. Mustard

I’ve been thinking of the “Semi-New Song Sunday” experiment as a failure, because it hasn’t been turning up a non-stop stream of My New Favorite Bands. But really, it’s been an unexpected success. Pushing myself to find new (to me) music every week has meant I’m seeing more of what’s out there, and I’m learning more about what exactly I like.

For instance: I’d much rather watch a good video for a middling song, than listen to a good song with no video.

I like the band HAIM just fine, but I rarely go out of my way to listen to them, and I’m not sure I’d be able to recognize any of their songs apart from “The Wire.” But this performance of their song “3AM” from Late Night With Seth Meyers has a video call from Robert Pattinson driving them to become a pop band made up of vampire brides, which is just objectively cool and memorable.

When it became clear that COVID lockdowns were going to make it impossible for shows to have live audiences, I expected everything to go the telecommuting route, like NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts or those episodes of SNL. It’s been neat to see more people taking advantage of it, with stuff like the Apple presentations that are so much slicker and more interesting than their old keynotes, and these concerts that give musicians (or more likely, their labels) more freedom to be creative than a simple live setup on a talk show stage. I hope it’s one of those things that they keep doing going forward, realizing that the only reason they’ve been doing the exact same thing since the Ed Sullivan show is that they were never forced to come up with an alternative.

“Black Rain” by Rhye is an even stronger example, though, because this “80s version of disco” is so forgettable on its own that it passes right through me like bran flakes. But put a preternaturally ripped actor out there dancing like nobody but his wife who directed the video is watching, and you’ve got my attention.

This video has more 2020 energy behind it, if you can ignore the fact that people who aren’t in super-hero movies don’t have bodies like that. It feels like that One Guy who’s there early at every single concert, alone on the dance floor just losing his shit to the opening act. And because all the concerts have been shut down, he’s got no recourse but to go out to his deck every night, take his shirt and shoes off, and rock his body to music that only he can hear.

The other reason I’d call this experiment a success is because learning what I like also means learning what I don’t like. For instance: “Pure Water” by Mustard and Migos. I watched every video by Mustard that I could find, because I was desperate to make a Dad Joke in the title of this post, and none of it is for me at all. I just think it’s all repetitive, auto-tuned to hell, and astoundingly dull. This collaboration with Migos was the most tolerable one I could find, and I’m still not a fan.

I always knew that by the time I hit 50, I’d hate all the music that was popular. Even when I was a teenager, there was only a window of a couple of months in the early 80s that I did like popular music. But I imagined I’d be like the middle-aged, white, TV writers at Hanna-Barbera, trying to skewer The Beatles with “Bug Music” in The Flintstones. I thought I’d find the music-the-youths-listen-to-these-days to be too loud, too violent, too dumb, or too harsh for me. I never expected that I’d find it so god-awful boring.

I’m not interested in wasting time talking about stuff I don’t like, because taste is subjective, and it’s time better spent amplifying the things I love. But this was a great example for the “Semi-New Song” experiment. I went in assuming that there was all this great music out there that I just wasn’t cool enough to be aware of. It’s nice to be reminded that my verifiable lack of coolness doesn’t have much of anything to do with what music I like.

The Mandalorian: Then They Saw His Face

The Mandalorian episode “The Believer” surprisingly felt like I was being rewarded for something I hadn’t earned.

The title image is from a WIRED autocomplete interview with Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac.

I expected the worst from the latest episode of The Mandalorian, called “The Believer,” since I expected to see Bill Burr’s character come back, and he’s the worst. But instead of being a disappointment, it felt like they were piling on scene after amazing scene showing me something cool that I hadn’t even known I wanted to see.

About five minutes into the episode, nerds worldwide let out a collective sigh of satisfaction, as we finally saw after 40 years a demonstration of exactly how stuff in the hull of the Slave I stays upright when the ship changes orientation. It still amazes me that this show is actually turning out to be a combination of my most sugar-rush-hyped-up fantasies as a 9-year-old, 20-year-old, and 49-year-old: And and and then, Boba Fett shows up, and they’ve both got jetpacks, and then Ming-Na Wen is in the group too, and they all get in the Slave I and fly to a bunch of new planets, and then there’s a scene like the truck chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and they just BOOM destroy a ton of Imperials, and there’s like multiple Mandalorians, and they have these bad-ass fight scenes but also when they take their helmets off, they look like Timothy Olyphant, Temuera Morrison, and Pedro Pascal.

Oh! And then for no reason at all, they had Boba Fett launch a seismic grenade to blow up multiple TIE Fighters at once, which might be the only scene I liked in all of Attack of the Clones. At that point, I was already like No really, I couldn’t take any more fan service, I’ve had so much…. oh well all right then.

I’d also been about to complain about how Star Wars keeps reusing the same biome over and over and over again; how many desert planets are in this galaxy, anyway? The only thing I really liked about Rogue One was the production design, and part of that was putting so many familiar Star Wars elements into a completely unfamiliar South Pacific-esque jungle environment. The last episode seemed to have been set in the same area near Los Angeles that episodes of Buck Rogers and Star Trek took place, and this one seemed even closer to being a real place. I’d love it if the live action series were to get as experimental with exotic environments as The Clone Wars series did.

A perfectly paced, satisfying episode like this one proves how much of what works in The Mandalorian is about restraint. There’s still a host of phenomenally talented concept artists and CG artists (and sound designers, and costume designers, etc. etc.) but here, their work is allowed to stand out, because the stories are more straightforward, the action is more old-fashioned chases and beat-em-ups, and the stakes are more personal. In this episode, I actually had the chance to appreciate the design of the pirates’ speeders, since they weren’t lost in a sea of other things fighting for attention.

It’s no knock on Disney or Lucasfilm to say that it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to keep this same level of quality with every one of the new Star Wars properties in the works. But if this one is so eerily able to deliver exactly what I want to see, I imagine that they’re eventually going to have a Star Wars that’s perfectly tailored to everybody.

And yes, the only reason I wrote this post is because I’m so inordinately proud of making the “I’m a Believer”/”saw his face” connection that I felt the need to spell it out explicitly.

IP Freely

Finding inspiration for independent creativity via an investor announcement from a multi-billion-dollar multinational entertainment conglomerate

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a mopey funk thinking about intellectual property vs creator-owned original work, and how the landscape of creative work has changed so dramatically, and what it says about my own career.

My first job in video games was for a sequel to a game that I loved, and after working on several more sequels and licensed titles over the years, I finally got to work with some of my all-time favorite characters. I even got to make my own small contribution with an original character.1Well, as original as a pastiche of at least five different other characters can be. Recently I saw that character being used as company branding for a license-holder who’s making re-releases for the games, which just feels like giving me a huge middle finger.

I guess the lesson learned, after 25 years, is: never confuse a “feeling of ownership” over something you’ve made with actual ownership. Turns out that the conversion rate between USD and a sense of pride in a creative work is, at the time of this writing, 0.00.

Way back in the dark mists of the mid-1990s, when I was working in that first job in game development, there was a pervasive false dichotomy between “licensed titles” (the term “intellectual property” hadn’t really hit mainstream yet) and original work. In short, you were either working on something original, or you were selling out.2The first company I worked at had a couple of gigantic all-encompassing licenses, so that probably had a lot to do with it, but I know that it wasn’t limited to just LucasArts, since you can still see it all the time in regards to Imagineering projects, and the rise of “not cinema” super-hero movies.

It was silly even back then, but seems particularly absurd now. Some of the most brilliant, genre-redefining games were licensed games; and I’ve had a much greater sense of ownership over my work on a couple of licensed games than for the “original” ones. But still, it was pervasive enough that I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more inherently valuable about original work.

I suspect I was always too idealistic to admit that this was just trying to put a “celebrate the unique magic of creativity” spin on what was in reality a much more financial concern. Obviously, talented people can make something great out of a license just as well as they can out of an original concept. The biggest differences are who gets control over it, and who gets to profit from the labor involved. In retrospect, I probably should’ve noticed that the people who were shouting the loudest about the integrity of original content were the exact same people who stood to benefit the most from it.

I’ve always appreciated that I had a very rare opportunity in that my first job in games was not only for my favorite game developer, but on what was one of my favorite properties. If you think of it as “professional fan fiction,” which is basically how I thought of it, then it’s easy to focus only on living up to your expectations as a fan. It’s easier to forget about all the practical concerns like budgeting and recognition and marketing, and forgetting how much the license is giving you a head start. You’re riding on top of a built-in audience, as well as probably a larger budget and a bigger team. Not to mention all the more subtle advantages, like you’re probably not having to pitch the basics of the concept to people.

A big part of my mopey funk is just realizing how much work is involved when you don’t have that head start. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of creative people sharing their work online — paintings and drawings, CG models, animation, short films, music, independent games — and I’ve been marveling at how anyone has the time and energy to be making so much stuff these days. Most recently I’ve been getting back into the YouTube channel of David Sandberg, a Swedish filmmaker who’s built a Hollywood career off of his short films, and is somehow still making short films and tutorials. On Instagram, I’ve been following artist Sean Kiernan, who’ll casually post concept images for an animated series or video game that has yet to be made.

It’s equal parts inspiring and paralyzing. How do you even get started?

The encouraging thing is that there are not only more sophisticated tools available than ever before, for cheaper than ever before, with a network of people eager to share what they’ve learned. There are even more platforms eager to help you monetize it, if that’s your end goal.

Today, there’s been a firehose of announcements from Disney, for the purposes of reminding COVID-wary investors that even if the theme parks, movie theaters, and cruise lines are closed, the company still has seemingly billions of beloved properties and characters available to work with. There are some Star Wars series that sound amazing, and also Rogue One spin-off Andor; various MCU series in the works; some new series based on Disney Animation properties like Big Hero Six and Zootopia; and even a feature-length Toy Story spin-off about Buzz Lightyear.

In addition to announcements for existing properties, they also announced Encanto, a movie set in Colombia with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which seems to be pitched to emphasis similarities to Moana; and Iwaju, which looks like an original afrofuturism fantasy story, no doubt made Disney-viable by the success of Black Panther.

It’d be easy to be cynical and say that this is just Disney pumping out a glut of licensed properties to milk every last penny from their licenses. You can tell it’d be easy to say that, since I’ve already seen so many people saying it on Twitter. What’s interesting to me, though, is that very little of this fits into that whole mid-1990s dichotomy of IP vs original content. Original concepts become less risky when combined with known talent or known properties, and vice versa. And licenses are just as likely to be used as vehicles for more established talent (like Jon Favreau, Taika Waititi, and Dave Filoni with Star Wars) as not-as-well-known talent (like the team behind the Ms Marvel series).

There are still tons of creators and tons of ideas out there; the biggest difference between now and the “good old days” is that more of those ideas are getting made by more of those creators. Of course not all of it will be great, but it doesn’t need to be.

And I think it dispels that old dichotomy once and for all. It’s called “intellectual property” for a reason; that’s the only thing that companies like Disney and Lucasfilm truly “own.” They don’t own the talent or creativity of the people making stuff, even though in the past, the gatekeepers of the IP were almost always the same as the gatekeepers of the resources to make everything possible. Being an independent creator was a much, much, much bigger liability back then than it is now.

A huge company is making it possible for tons of new ideas to become reality. A bunch of people who made their names off small indie projects will get much greater exposure from being attached to a big-name project; and a bunch of people working on big-name projects will now potentially have the resources to make their own stuff independently.

As it turns out, the only finite resource is time. I hope I’ve got time to make new stuff with all this TV I’m going to have to watch.

Tuesday Tune Two-Fer: Kutiman Around the World

Two of Kutiman’s post-Thru You videos, celebrating the cooperation and creativity of humans living in cities

“Thru Tokyo” is part of a series that musician and filmmaker Kutiman started after his wonderful “Thru You” projects. The idea is similar to “Thru You,” in that he’s taking disparate audio and video samples and remixing them into a new composition. The big differences are 1) this isn’t found footage, but is deliberately recorded for the purpose of the video; 2) each composition is made in celebration of a city; and 3) most of the samples are from artists and musicians who live in the city.

As far as I’m concerned, Kutiman alone justifies the existence of YouTube (if not the internet in general). Each video he makes is such a joyful celebration of collaboration and cooperation, creativity and talent. There is such a feeling of optimism and belief in humanity implicit in every one of these compositions, that if we ever make another Voyager probe, I want Kutiman in charge of making the next golden record.

My favorite of this series (and everyone else’s favorite, if the 7.3 million views is any indication) is “Mix Tel Aviv”1Technically, I believe these were different projects with different sponsors, so I mean “series” more in the sense of a creative connection. I believe that Tel Aviv is Kutiman’s home city, or at least it was at the time, and I think that several of the musicians involved are his friends. Regardless, the video shows a love of the city and its people that’s undeniable. In a just universe, Kutiman would’ve gotten the patronage to make videos like this for dozens more cities.